Monday, August 15, 2005

Let the Blogger Beware

Today's Chicago Tribune had a front page story on the dangers of blogging, or more specifically, the dangers of venting on one's blog. The article features several bloggers who lost their jobs for criticizing corporate employers and bosses online. One woman called her boss "Her Wretchedness," another revealed the luxurious gifts her boss received. The funny thing about these articles, is that both women have now made a name for themselves on the "blogosphere" and realized success from what should have been career-ending mistakes. It's not as if any old blogger could get fired for criticizing his boss only to realize success via blog--these women probably have engaging blogs--but it is easy to find some unintended irony in the cautionary article.

The article also mentioned the incident earlier this year where Medill School of Journalism students retaliated at a professor who took issue with ill-conceived Facebook groups that criticized aspects of the college. Although I was opposed to the threatening tone that the professor and some of her colleagues took towards the students at the time, I can now understand that it was reasonable of Professor Michele Weldon to warn students that they got off relatively unscathed for what they did, free of the serious sanctions they would have encountered in the "real world." Also, the students took the totally immature step of creating a retaliatory group against Weldon. Real mature guys. (In fairness, there may have been students who went through the proper channels to tactfully respond to Weldon and her colleagues' greivances).

Anyway, the article is an interesting read.


william t nelson said...

One of my friends sent a great email out to everyone he knew. It was about an ethical problem within his company. He complained to his superiors about it.

A few weeks after the email, he sent a follow up explaining that he was fired for complaining [his bosses never saw the emails].

I think its good that it's easier to distribute this "backstage" workplace information. If someone puts out important information out there, there is a better chance they can be heard. If they are insulting people and are obviously idiots themselves, then that's fine too. You take your own chances.

If the people aren't idiots, they can provide information similar in importance to whistleblowers or war memoirs.

Of course, media sometimes idolizes idiots, but that's a separate issue.

There is the possibility that superiors can be slandered, but I don't really care, the balance of power had been decisively in their favor.

P.S.: I was too lazy to read the article

Elaine said...

I agree, testimony of egregious or corrupt practices in an organization should still be encouraged.